Cablegate: Media Play - Iraq

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: Colombo 550

1. Under the front-page headline, "CBK hits out at Bush,"
the DAILY MIRROR (independent English daily, islandwide
circulation) pursues a leitmotiv that often appears in the
Sri Lankan media's coverage of the war: mixing local
issues with news from Iraq. (See reftel, which reported
that an editorial in the DAILY NEWS (government-owned
English daily, islandwide circulation) wondered why some
Sri Lankans are simultaneously pro-peace in Iraq and
"deafeningly silent" regarding peace in Sri Lanka itself.)
According to "CBK hits out," President Kumaratunga has
accused the USG of "waging war against Iraq ... while
asking Sri Lanka to go ahead with peace talks with a
terrorist organization [i.e., the LTTE]."

2. Other English dailies are satisfied with either pix of
"smoke billows from an explosion in ... Saddam's guest
palace" or a "map of `Day 12.'" The vernacular press, in
contrast, gives heavy coverage to what one Sinhala headline
describes as "U.S. soldiers kill seven Iraqi women and
children." The same story appears in the Tamil dailies
under headlines such as "Coalition forces fire near
checkpoint; 7 Iraqis ... killed" and "Fearing suicide
bombers, innocent civilians shot dead."

3. Although Sri Lanka's English- and Tamil-medium
editorialist are silent today, a brief editorial appears in
LAKBIMA (independent Sinhala daily, islandwide coverage).
Dilating on "The principle of refusing war," LAKBIMA's
editors say:

"Our Prime Minister has said that he is not prepared to go
on with a war that would never bring victory to us ... not
prepared to sacrifice the country's economy, and the future
of its children.

"Lovers of war can never bring a solution to a problem. We
can eradicate war only if we realize this truth."


© Scoop Media

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